A Spotlight on the New Tom’s Starlight

Tom’s Starlight on Colfax has been reborn while also restoring a piece of history. This historic diner, originally named Tom’s Diner, has been a staple on Colfax for over 20 years and has recently undergone a big change after being saved from demolition in 2019.

The newly transformed space preserves the original layout of the building while also adding a retro and chic feel to it with a new bar area and gorgeous mood lighting. Personality and enjoyment radiate from every aspect of the improved diner, shown with quirky menu adages such as “Stupid Questions,” which charges diners eighty cents, and cocktails that are served up with a show. 

While the interior is beautiful, the real main attraction is the large patio that was a part of the overhaul completed in September 2022. Filled with spacious cabanas, stylish lawn seating and another outside bar, this oasis on Colfax is the perfect place to lounge the day and night away. Music, fans and gentle lights are supplied to keep the vibes high and the atmosphere cool, creating a relaxing ambiance for guests to catch up with friends until late in the evening. 

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To make it even better, Tom’s Starlight has created an innovative and generous menu complete with various food and beverage options. As aforementioned, some of the cocktails are presented with a show, as in being set on fire. Both the Long Lost ($14) and No Help Needed ($18) employ this special ingredient, which lends a smokiness to both cocktails. The No Help Needed particularly stood out, made with fresno-pineapple-cinnamon tequila, creole orange shrub, vanilla demerara, lime, absinth, tiki bitters and crushed ice. Unlike anything you have tried before, this refreshing drink pairs well with its smoking cinnamon stick, making you feel like you are on an island vacation.

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Other drink favorites include a banana daiquiri shot ($6) made with banana rum, vanilla demerara, lime and saline, which is dark and just the right amount of sweet without being overpowering or bitter. The team is also dedicated to highlighting classic cocktails on their menu, not new creations, such as the Caipirinha/Caipiroska ($12), Brazil’s national cocktail. Made with cachaça or vodka, sugar and lime, this beverage is simple and delicious, making it hard not to drink all at once. If you happen to be looking for something non-alcoholic, try the Morir Sonando ($9) – a popular drink in the Dominican Republic – which has OJ, condensed milk and vanilla demerara and is reminiscent of an orange creamsicle. 

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A visit to Tom’s Starlight certainly would not be complete without delving into their bountiful food offerings. For shareable items that can be split with friends, they have provided Tom’s Board ($22 / $40), which features a wide selection of cured meats and cheeses as well as plum slices and crackers. Everyone will find something to love on this board as it has such an eclectic assortment. The sliders ($12) are a house favorite, built with garlic aioli, bread and butter pickles, cheddar cheese and shallots, all topped on King’s Hawaiian rolls, making them dangerously good. 

To beat the summer heat, order the watermelon salad with mozzarella, basil, mint, and pistachio topped with a balsamic glaze. This delightfully refreshing dish is sure to entice your palate and leave you ready for the next course. For entrees, try the salmon ($30), presented with a vanilla beurre blanc, cayenne smoked plantains and a pineapple-cucumber pico. Cooked to perfection, this dish precisely balances both sweet and spicy notes, with neither of them overwhelming the other, and results in a meal that satisfies completely.

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For those with a late-night sweet tooth or who want something to pair with their nightcap, enjoy a blueberry fresno cheesecake ($7), a classic New York deli cheesecake with a spicy blueberry compote and honeycomb. This heavenly treat is creamy with a slight kick, providing a perfect end to the evening. If you want a warm dessert, order the freshly baked cookies ($3 / $5), which are comforting and made in-house.

The menu changes routinely to keep things new for returning diners and keep the creativity of the place going. Visit soon to try the current menu items before they are gone forever and bask in the rich history of this iconic spot. Whether you are ready for a weekend brunch or late-night cocktail hour, Tom’s Starlight has you covered with quality food, impressive drinks and a stunning new space.

Tom’s Starlight is located at 601 E Colfax Ave, Denver, and is open Tuesday – Thursday from 4 p.m. – 12 a.m. on Friday from 4 p.m. – 1 a.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. – 1 a.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. and are closed on Mondays.

All photography is courtesy of Jas Kitterman.